Its always always hard to leave special places like Aunt Sally's Pedal Stop! Fixing breakfast in our cozy little kitchen felt like being at home having breakfast, even tho we don't usually have peanut butter and bananas on tortillas or instant oatmeal at home! But the kitchen had what we needed with coffee supplied, a kettle and all the dishes and we could sit at a table with chairs. Isn't it interesting how all the same things that you might use every day seem so special when they are in a barn that is hidden under the trees in a secluded little hideaway for bicyclists! We enjoyed breakfast and set off.
Once on the road we were greeted by the continuation of the Bitterroot Range and it snowy peaks running along side of us west of us. I did have to stop a few times to try and capture a photo. Once again we find ourselves gaining elevation as we approach our next set of passes, but the elevation gain is so gradual we barely notice it most of the time.
Our first pause was in Darby where we finally met our first TransAm Race across America bicyclist! And that reminds me I think I may have forgotten to mention on June 2 (last Saturday) 120 bicyclist started the TransAm race across America, 4200 miles to Yorktown, Virginia. We had been watching for the racers to pass us knowing they had to nominate a time frame of completion and most are racing to finish in 20 days! At over 200 miles a day it wasn't going to take long to pass us up!! 200 miles a day! When we took our little detour to Missoula, we heard the lead biker was already in Hamilton that day! I was so disappointed because I had imagined at one point we would pull over on the road and watch all 120 go whizzing by! So I stopped looking for them! While we were doing a little "stock-up" grocery shopping in Darby one of the racers stopped fo buy his pickle juice!
So we got lots of info from him! He talked at a racer's speed, probably as fast as he would be pedaling if he was on his bike! It was really interesting and way out of my league when he described riding in the dark! Sleeping only 3 hours a night and in fact he thought he almost fell asleep while riding! You have to ask yourself why?? But we all have our thing and from all the riders we crossed paths with or spoke to today, they all shared the same drive and motivation! To participate in the race it is a $250 fee. In exchange you get a cap and a gps tracker that sends out a bleep every 5 minutes to track your location. So if you hopped in a car or onto a speeding train, you would get noticed! No other real check in points. Paricipants can rely on services of a business to buy food, but cannot use a support person following along. So the ones we met were all on their own! The next racer we spoke to was from Sweden, just here for the race! The next guy was from NZ! He said he got up at 3:00am to start his day! And they all had the same physique, except for rider #1 who had thighs as thick as Wisconsin tree trunks, they were tall and very lean! Obviously an iron man type race across thousands of miles was nothing new to them! What do you win at the end?? The satisfaction of knowing that you did it! Now that is something I understand! So good luck to all the racers out there! If you want to see what it is all about you can go to Transambikerace,com The leader is already in Wyoming and probably further by time you read this!
It was a day to meet other cyclists! Going in the opposite direction we met Natalie and Vincent from The Netherlands! Had a great chat, shared all the wonderful places we have experienced and thought they should check them out! They warned us about the mosquitoes up ahead and how very large and visious they are! And sure enough they started landing on us!! We rode on and reached the Sula Store and campground in only a few more minutes and the mosquitoes were waiting for us! Just like that! We really have not had to contend with them and now we do! Had to search out the repellent! They were so bad I had to stand over Mike and swat them away while he dug for the repellant!
It must have been the pending rain that brought the mosquitoes out .. . I don't know but the big gray threatening clouds that you find in the moutains were once again hanging low over head. They. Just appear over the tops, you cant see if there are more or just this one and they are threatening! We had planned to ride to the hot springs about 6 miles further on which would bring us just to the base of the start of the climb to get over Lost Trail Pass. But just like yesterday we started to "waffle" with indecision. Yesterday when I spoke to the hot springs they just weren't quite open, trying to finish up details and get open for the weekend but they just couldn't guarantee it! So I said I would call today from Sula. Standing in Sula, which consists of a gas station, general store (sort of) and a campgroundrvparkcabin resort with reasonable prices, we got into a debate about whether to go on or not once we found out that yes indeed, the hot springs was open!! What better place to wait out a rain storm than in a hot springs right??? It is like comparing apples and oranges. A reasonable price cabin here or setting up our tent (no affordable cabins at hot springs!) knowing the rain may or may not continue. See? At least while we were trying to make a good choice the mosquito repellent was doing its job!!
Mike won out, we stayed put and although we waited all afternoon we did in fact get the downpour of rain!
We also met 2 guys from Boulder Colorado riding to Seattle, they too were headed the opposite direction as us. I guess it will get busier on the road as summer approaches and people get out there and follow their bicycle dreams at whatever pace suits them!
It is going to get exciting for a few days! Tomorrow we cross 2 passes The Lost Trail Pass at 7,014 ft and right on its back, i don't even think we lose much altitude we go up further crossing The Continental Divide for the first time at Chief Joseph Pass 7,241 ft! Yowser! Sometimes when we go up and over and the down side is so steep I quite often think to myself how grateful I am that we came up the side we did because the other side is a stinker! Not this one! We get the ugly side this time! But we are ready!
Well thanks for checking in! It was a short day for us but full of some good things and interesting people!